Friday, July 22, 2005

---STS-114 On for Tuesday, More Terror in London, Roberts Nomination, MRO Nears Launch, Elian Gonzales is Back 

STS-114 Readied for Tuesday Launch[FOXNews]
Engineers seem to think they have found the problem[Spaceflight Now] with the troublesome backup LH2-level sensor in Discovery’s external tank. The description sounds like a ground loop has affected high-impedance-input detection circuits, making them susceptible to interference from the new tank heaters installed as a result of the Columbia disaster investigation. Management is contemplating a relaxation of flight rules to accomodate only three working sensors, has decided to forgo a new tanking test requested by some engineers, and may extend the flight window for Tuesday’s launch attempt by relaxation of optimum lighting requirements.
As always, it’s not really the sensor that would worry me, it’s the “fly when the weight of the waivers equals the weight of the payload” attitude of NASA management.

Second Terror Attack on London[FOXNews]
The last thing I would want to do is second-guess, Monday-morning-quarterback, remote psychoanalyze a bunch of terrorists, but eveybody else is trying to figure out what they could have been thinking when they tried this attack in the middle of the massive British government crackdown from the first attack two weeks ago. We can feel truly blessed that they messed it up so badly that no more British civilians were seriously hurt. Speculation centers on bad, maybe homemade detonators as the cause of the failures.

Conservative Comments on Roberts Nomination[Ann Coulter]
Coulter says about everything that needs saying about G.W. Bush’s nomination of John Roberts to replace Sandra O’Conner on the US Supreme Court. Even if the justices were retiring fast enough, they have backups, with no relief in sight.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Nearing Launch [JPL]
The new orbiter promises to revolutionize study of Mars, if they don’t drop it, if they didn’t make some critical sensor element wrong and forget to say anything until it’s in space, and if it doesn’t smack into the Martian atmosphere from a miscalculated orbital insertion, or come up with some entirely new way to mess up a Mars mission that nobody has thought of yet.

Elian Gonzales is Back
Elian Gonzales has resurfaced in the news. This is the boy whose mother died trying to escape to the United States on tractor tire tubes, who was then deported back to Cuba by the Clintons. As a consolation, Fidel has now announced that he considers Elian his personal “friend”.

Ecclesiastes 10
There is an evil I have seen under the sun,
the sort of error that arises from a ruler:
6 Fools are put in many high positions,
while the rich occupy the low ones.

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